You’ve heard it time and time again. The fourth quarter of the fiscal year is the most important time to reflect and prepare your company for what’s to come based on previous results. If you have not already had a third party look over your marketing materials, now is the time. Sometimes, you may feel like your marketing efforts are as good as a shot in the dark. Using the same strategy on two different occasions may yield an amazing result or a terrible result. There is only so much planning that can be done. This is why marketing audits are important to have.
A. Why have a Marketing Audit?
Examining your objectives, strategies, and activities to determine which areas need improvement and which areas you should continue to thrive upon is vital. Saving your company money is another benefit of reviewing your previous efforts by being able to re-allocate funds that are not working to your advantage to instead, deliver via the right channels and platforms to reach your target more effectively. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the internal and external market.
Some questions to ask yourself regarding the internal market:
-What resources do you have at your disposal?
-Is your marketing team organized in the most efficient manner?
-Where do you stand in the realm of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
-Are your product, price, placement, and promotional efforts aligned?
When it comes to analyzing the external environment, ask yourself:
-Do you know your audience’s purchase behavior?
-Is your audience segmented and targeted in the most appropriate way possible?
-Do you know how profitable you competitors are?
-What trends may affect the way your audience views your product/service in the future and how can you prepare your business for these situations?
B. What To Do
Examine your competitors closely and set up a careful analysis of what their strengths and weaknesses are. Decide what they do better and how you can improve upon that.
Review your marketing plan, analyze your material, and set up dates to continue to review your plan. Establish new strategies based on the changing surrounding environment and execute tactics for reaching the initial goals you set.
If you have a website, check in on your home page and your site’s mobile-friendliness. Is it demonstrating what you want it to represent? Make sure it is customer-centric and that contact information is accessible. Your About section should be current and concise. Your audience should have a simple understanding of the type of work you provide after looking at it.
Review your content delivery and constantly check in with your numbers. Analyze how many leads you are generating and what improvements can be made to generate more. Google Analytics is a great tool for helping you do this.
To prepare financially, stay up to date on accounting standards so you can manage and track data effectively and be sure to analyze business expenses and finances accordingly. Then, set goals and develop a calendar for completing them. These responsibilities should be divided amongst members of your company to get them organized and completed in a timely fashion.
Out with the old, in with the new. Make sure outdated information and records are stored accordingly, so that you have your best foot forward for the new year.
Keeping these initiatives top of mind during the next two months will put your company in the best shape possible for the new year. Good luck, and remember to consistently evaluate your results so that your company is better tomorrow than it is today!